You need to exercise with chronic illness. Here’s why.


For day seven of our chronic illness challenge , I am featuring an interview with Michael of HOW approach,an exercise in coach with those with chronic illness.

So I started off the conversation:

how can exercise be beneficial for people with chronic illness?

Michael responds:

First off I would like to thank you for the opportunity.

Second if you don’t mind me asking, what type of Chronic illness do you have?

Thirdly, the answer to the question…

I guess I will start by giving a link to an article on the CDC website

This site has great resources.

Being that the term Chronic Illness is broad in that it could be referring to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, MS, and many many more, we have to speak in a general way.

Through my own experiences I have clients with MS who have went from having tremors and major balance issues to now competing in Spartans and triathlons. She has no more tremors and she has been in remission for two years with the possibility of it dissipating  out of her body. I have clients who have weight problems and diabetes, who now have lost weight and have gotten their blood sugar in check and many other clients with CI.

I guess summing up I would say physical inactivity is a major cause of CI as much as physical activity is extremely beneficial!

yoga vector

My turn again:

i have multiple chronic disorders:, MCAS(a hyperallergic disorder), immunodeficiency,GERD, a connective tissue disorder of some sort (that is the diagnosis,i am not being vague)asthma,, and possibly POTS

I also have a lot of chronic pain. I’m do happy that you cater  people with chronic illnesses! I know for myself that when I do yoga, I feel so much better!
But I have to work really hard to create a routine that works for me,because my disorders mean there is so much I can’t do.

second question, what got you into this?Do you have anyone you know with a chronic disorder?

Michael responds:

So, you have lot of hurdles?  How has the POTS and asthma effected you exercising? What about your diet? Has the GERD effected that? I guess we will be asking each other questions.

Second question…

I got into the exercise therapy and nutrition part of my practice mainly because of a client of mine, Maret. She has  multiple sclerosis.  I saw how much help she needed, then over time I saw how much our work together was helping. She always thanks me for all “I’ve” done for her and I keep thanking her for allowing me to help. I tell her if it wasn’t for her I’d never would have found my true calling and recognized what Gods  purpose for me was. We all are given gifts, I am just fortunate enough to have been able to recognize and use the one God gave me.

I have several clients with Chronic Illnesses also family members.  This seems to push me to get more knowledge and help as many as possible.

And back to me:

so actually between everything, i have a really limited diet (25 or so foods i can eat)). Mostly due to my food allergies, but the reflux is really bad so it does interfere with my diet, and the pots creates some intolerances. As far as exercise goes, i am also very limited. i can not lie down flat at all, or do other exercise  that brings the reflux up.

With the pots, the MCAS and the asthma, i also need to find very gentle routines. I can only do gentle yoga and walking (though many times i can not walk becouse i have so many seasonal allergies.) on a good day, i can do 10 minutes of gentle exercise 2x a day.

i can see how much the exercise helps with all my symptoms, and my doctors are always encouraging me to do it, but because i am so unstable and there is always at least one crazy thing going on medically, i am many times  unable to do any exercise at all (or just five minutes.)

i flush, my heart rate goes crazy, my Bp drops,i get dizzy, and sometimes i even get an attack.

i love that answer!i can see how totally committed you are to your clients and how much you care. they are lucky to have you.

so my next question is what would you say for patients like me, who or some  days its a challenge to even get out of bed? How hard do you tell your clients to push themselves?

should we exercise even when we feel awful, or should we just rest even if it takes really long to recover?

Michael responds:

You have a lot going on.

When it comes to telling my clients how hard to go, basically every individual is different, their needs, levels, illness, and

Abilities are different. Also that the medications and effects of them during exercise is different. Over time working with someone, researching their illness and knowing and monitoring them, I am able to than correctly and safely push them.

The second part of that is when someone feels fatigued, exhausted or winded they need to take a break. Take time to recover. Recovery is very important and crucial in the progression. This is where I would come in and with the expertise of knowing the client, I would be able to guide them. Bottom line if you are feeling like that, take a break and recover. You and your body know what is needed. This is the part of mind body connection I teach. Being In Tune with you body is important.

Bike Trail

And back to me:

Thank you, that was very helpful! I always feel so guilty (and I’ve heard from many people with chronic illness who say the same)about not pushing myself and getting things done. Its comforting to hear from a professional that I am doing is what’s best for my body~and that’s most important.
I guess I do have a lot going on. ☺
Next question, which illness show the greatest improvement with exercise, in your experience?

Michael’s turn again:

The question is difficult to answer. The reason being the term Chronic Illness covers all of them, it includes lower back pain to MS, Diabetes to Cancer. So I guess I can answer by saying depending on the level, no matter if you have or don’t have an CI, all benefit from exercise and nutrition.

Some diseases can be cured from nutrition (missing nutrients in diet, by adding these missing ones) and exercise, some not, most fall in between. The inherent ones may be unaltered, but will be able to be better managed.

For example diabetes may be managed by the use of a special diet, also depending on the type. Cardiovascular disease can respond very well to a heart healthy diet. Hope this helps

i ask:

Thank you so much! That’s true. symptoms can be very different and can come from multiple causes across the board.
I think that was a great answer!
Just one last question:how can my readers get in touch with you?

Micheal responds:

They can reach me via email


The website is below, bare in mind we are in the process of redoing it. But there are some blogs and testimonials on there they can read.

The h.o.w. approach

Personal Training and

Chronic Illnesses Exercise Therapy


so… the challenge for day seven:

find a exercise class online, or in a center that is tailored for your disorder, or that targets one of your symptoms,such as pain.

How did it feel to exercise?Did it help?Comment or like if you took the challenge!


Not yet a part of the 30 day chronic illness challenge?signing up is simple!you will get more great articles like this every day,delivered straight to your inbox,designed to help you feel better and healthier! What are you waiting for?





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